Low Scoring NL Central Battle is the MLB Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, August 30, 2014 3:11 PM UTC

Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014 3:11 PM UTC

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out an MLB total that does not add up and offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Saturday.


There may be a low scoring battle Saturday between two National League Central teams fighting to make the playoffs as Alfredo Simon and the Cincinnati Reds (65-70, 29-38 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Vance Worley and the Pittsburgh Pirates (70-64, 43-27 home) in the second game of a three-game series from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA at 4:05 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -118.

Battling for Division and Wild Card
The Pirates have taken full advantage a stretch where they have faced the top contenders inside this division, first taking two out of three from the first place Brewers in Milwaukee last weekend, then taking two of three from the second place St. Louis Cardinals here at home and then winning the series opener from the Reds 2-1 here last night. The third place Pirates are now just three games out of first place and 1½ behind the Cardinals for the second wild card.

The Reds have now dropped to five games under .500 to become longshot MLB picks to be playing this off-season, as they have fallen 8½ games behind Milwaukee in the division race and seven games out of a wild card. They have been done in by injuries as former MVP Joey Votto is still out with a severe quadriceps strain and Brandon Phillips just returned after missing 33 games with a torn thumb tendon.

First Time All-Star
Simon had a great first half on the surface and he made his first All-Star Game at the age of 33 as he was 12-3 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.05 WHIP at the break. However, regression was expected as his mainstream numbers were severely outperforming his sabremetric numbers over the first half of the season, and that regression came in a hurry when he went 0-5 in his first seven starts after the All-Star break.

With that being said, Simon regained his first-half form last time out and he has had success vs. the Pirates over the years. He snapped that’s seven-start winless streak by limiting the Atlanta Braves to one run on just five hits in seven innings on Sunday with five strikeouts and one walk, which was intentional.

Simon also pitched well in his two Quality Starts vs. the Pirates this year going 2-0 while allowing a total of only nine hits in 13 innings with nine strikeouts, leaving him with a 2.88 career ERA in 16 appearances vs. the Bucs (first 14 were in relief) while holding Pittsburgh batters to a .225 batting average. He now gets to face a Pirate offense that has scored three runs or less in four of the last five games despite winning the last two games 3-2 and 2-1.

Pleasant Surprise
Worley looked like a godsend when Pittsburgh first called him up in June with a string of excellent starts to begin his Pirate career, and even though he has regressed by allowing nine earned runs over 12.1 innings in his last two starts, that still leaves him at 5-4 with a 3.14 ERA.

What we still like about Worley is his continued good command this year despite those two recent setbacks. You see, he still has a nice ratio of 56 strikeouts vs. 14 walks and a good groundball rate of 48.1 percent that has limited his home runs allowed to eight in 13 appearances, resulting in a 3.63 FIP and 3.58 xFIP that suggest that his fine ERA is not as fluky as some may think.

Not Hitting Righties
We feel that gives Worley a good chance for a nice bounce-back start today and it certainly helps his cause that the Reds have had problems with right-handed pitchers all year. Cincinnati is batting .236 vs. righties overall this season, .235 against them on the road and .225 against them over the last 10 games, a span in which the Reds are averaging a mere 2.90 runs overall.

With all of this in mind, let us go ‘under’ this total in the Steel City Saturday on FOX Sports 1.

MLB Pick: Reds, Pirates ‘under’ 7½ (-118)

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